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BILLS OF LADING                                     21

liable for any damage the goods may sustain whilst in his
custody, excepting only that attributable toŚ

Act of God;
Queen's enemies;
Inherent vice.

His liability would, however, be limited by the provisions
of the Merchant Shipping Acts referred to in Chapter IV.

The shipowner is at liberty to restrict his liabilities,
and this he seeks to do by concluding special contracts
as evidenced by the terms, conditions and exceptions of
the bills of lading. A glance at a modem general cargo
bill of lading will convince one that the shipowner takes
every precaution to minimize his liabilities by inserting
protective clauses exempting himself from responsibility
for a very exhaustive range of losses, including those
arising from the negligence of his servants, etc. Bills of
lading for goods shipped from the United Kingdom and
Northern Ireland, however, are in this respect subject to
the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1924, which Act forms
the subject of a separate chapter in this volume.

That Act establishes the responsibilities, liabilities,
rights and immunities attaching to carriers under bills of
lading, and in effect prescribes a standard form of bill of
lading which has the force of law. It removes the difficul-
ties and uncertainties which were associated with the
plethora of protective clauses which shipowners were
accustomed to insert in bills of lading and has bestowed a
considerable advantage on the mercantile community,
particularly banks and insurance companies, as, now that
they know exactly the extent of the shipowners' liabilities,
etc., they can make advances and adjust insurance pre-
miums on cargo with greater facility. It is not necessary
specifically to incorporate fully the terms and conditions of
the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1924, hi bills of lading,
but an express statement, to the effect that the rules of
the Act shall be applied to the contract of affreightment,
must be inserted.